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Words

What are the last words you spoke to the last person with whom you spoke?

To be fair, I’ll share mine: “I love you, too.”

But if you’d heard my words yesterday, they would’ve sounded less beautiful. More… ungrateful. Untrusting. Unkind.

Words have the ability to encourage or the ability to destroy. When you add emotions, exhaustion, and ego to the mix, communication can be a minefield. The paradox? We frequently mete our harshest words to the individuals we love the most.

Why is that? Don’t you hate it? I do. I want to be a better listener. A better problem-solver. I want to end a conversation with someone knowing that I’ve affirmed him. In times of disagreement, my desire is that when the conversation is over, the problem has truly been resolved instead of postponed. I want to stop falling into the same speech traps that constantly leave me disappointed and defensive.

The gift of speech is one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given, but I’m so inept at utilizing the spoken word. That’s why the Proverbs wield power. These wise sayings help me to love God and my neighbor.

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25

“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3

“It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Proverbs 20:3

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

Sometimes the best use of the tongue is to keep it sealed behind our lips. Silence is a powerful form of communication. The best Communicator who ever lived, Jesus Christ, chose to remain silent even when He was unjustly accused and on the way to His crucifixion. I would’ve been screaming. But He was silent. He knew He was right. Therefore, He had nothing else to say. His final action of love was all that was necessary.

It’s tough to control our words. We should think before we speak, and if we do have to say difficult words, they must be spoken in love. One of the scriptures most difficult to apply is this: “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”

Father, give me wisdom. Use my speech to glorify You and encourage others. Make my words agents of Your healing.

 

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Getting Past Offenses

The careless words of others can wound deeply. If we’re unprepared for the unkind words of others, we can be shocked by those closest to us. Unkind speech finds us all, but we have the privilege of responding in love.

Picture this: an individual says something unkind, sees your response, and feigns innocence at the reaction their words garnered. Do you recognize the following defensive tactics?

“What?” As in, What did I say that you don’t like? or What are you so upset about? Before you react negatively, remember, you don’t know the exact translation of her “What?” but she’s given you a perfect opportunity to respond in love. Answer her truthfully. Kindly explain why her words offended you.

“You’re too sensitive.” This is a classic response from someone who doesn’t want to take responsibility for his words. This person would rather choke to death than let an apology cross his lips. Unfortunately, there are those who think apologizing is a sign of weakness. Show him that’s not the case. “I’m sorry you feel that way, but you need to know, your words really hurt me.”

Regardless of how others use their words, you are responsible for your speech and actions. Scripture says if you’ve been offended, go to your brother and tell him. Make it a priority. Don’t let your hurts fester.

Finally, forgive. We need forgiveness for our many tresspasses, so we must be quick to forgive to those who offend us.

~ Jericha Kingston

 

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in devotion, Jericha Kingston

 

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Are You Your Husband’s Defender–or His Prosecutor?

3D_Judges_GavelI was annoyed with my husband this weekend. I won’t tell you why. I’m sure at one point, you were annoyed with your spouse, so you can fill in your own offense.

The incident reminded me of something I heard Beth Moore say in her Bible study, Wising Up.  She made the point that, if we wanted to, we could be irritated with our husbands all day, every day. I agree completely—and I think the same goes for him. My husband has as many reasons to find fault with me as I do with him. But Proverbs 19:11 says, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

So here’s a question: In the courtroom of life, who are you to your husband?

Are you the judge, presiding from on high, anxious to make a ruling over his activities? Are you listening to your husband’s accusers and prosecutors, willing to take their side? Are you waiting for him to make a mistake, for your opportunity to bang your gavel and announce, “Guilty!”

Maybe you’re the prosecutor, flitting around the courtroom of life telling everybody what he’s done wrong, reminding the jury and audience about his past sins.

Or you could be the accuser, ready to share the many ways he’s wronged you, watching the audience’s eyes fill with sympathetic tears and shoot daggers at the man you promised to love, honor, and cherish.

Tweet this: In the courtroom of life, be your husband’s defender, not his prosecutor.

In the courtroom of life, I hope to be my husband’s defender. I want to sit beside him and hold his hand. When asked, I want to tell of all the wonderful things he’s done. I don’t have to believe he’s perfect—or even innocent, in some cases. But as his defender, my job is to tell the courtroom—the judge, the jury, the witnesses—about all of his great qualities. Yes, he’s imperfect. But he’s also a million wonderful things.  And if I’ve been a good partner to him, then I’ve been storing up all those wonderful things to remember when the accusers and prosecutors and witnesses hurl their accusations.

I will try to overlook as many offenses as I can and notice all the great things about my husband. I resolve to be not his judge, nor his prosecutor, nor his accuser, but instead to be his defender and best witness. That attitude will be to our glory and that of our heavenly Father.

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Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, released in April, and its prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2015 in Robin Patchen

 

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While My Soldier Serves—Author Interview

WMSS, final, high resI’m so pleased to welcome Edie Melson to the author’s chair this week. We’re giving away a free copy of While My Soldier Serves, so be sure to leave a comment to enter to win. The deadline for the giveaway is May 17 at 6 pm CDT.  

QPQ: Edie, why was it so important for you to write this book?

Edie: I struggled with fear while our son was deployed. Often the worst times were when I was awakened with horrible nightmares. I’d make my way downstairs and sit in the recliner, clutching my Bible and trying to pray. So often the prayers wouldn’t come. I longed for a book like this to give me a jumping off point for my own prayers.

QPQ: I can’t imagine what that must be like. How was your own perspective helpful as the mother of an active duty Marine?

Edie: I think that experience has given me insight into the deepest fears we face while a loved one is away at war. I know firsthand the hopelessness that comes from being unable to protect someone you love.

QPQ: You talk a lot about prayer. Why is prayer vital for our military soldiers?

Edie: It’s vital that we’re covering our military with prayer. Prayer activates God’s power. Sure, He can and often does work without it, but I’ve also seen how He moves mountains because of it. Our prayers help provide protection, comfort, even peace for those serving so far from home.

Tweet this: Our soldiers need the protection, comfort and peace prayer can provide.

QPQ: Why is it important to not only pray for the soldier, but for their families and loved ones as well?

Edie: Our soldiers are not the only ones serving. The families may not be official members of the military, but the battles they face are every bit as real and every bit as dangerous. This is especially true now that terrorist groups are targeting military families in their war against America.

QPQ: That’s a scary thought, especially when the soldiers are far from home, unable to protect their loved ones. It must make it even harder for them to go, knowing they’re leaving their families unprotected. How did you choose the six categories (Wisdom, Strength, Faith, Protection, Peace, Those Close to My Loved One) to pray for the soldier?

Edie: I kept a deployment journal while my son was away at war. When I looked back through the prayers I recorded there, these were the things I prayed. It seemed to make sense to go with what brought me peace during those stressful times.

QPQ: A deployment journal. What a good idea. You also chose seven categories (Fear, Peace, Patience, Faith, Strength, Anger, Reaching Out to Others) to pray for those at home. How did you choose them?

Edie: Those were the things I struggled with in my own life.

QPQ: Faith seems to be the category you spend the most time on. Why is faith so critical to those serving during these trying times?

Edie: Faith is what gets us through the dark times. So often when things are the blackest, it’s hard to hear from God. Even though it isn’t true, it feels like God is far away with His back turned. It’s only our faith in what we know is true, instead of what we feel, that keeps us moving forward.

QPQ: That’s a great point, Edie. Each prayer provides a perfect notable quote as well as dedicated scripture to tie in with the prayer’s message. Tell us about those.

Edie: I love quotes, and I felt that adding a quote would be another way to illustrate the focus of each prayer.

QPQ: How can the book be used for prayer groups praying for the military?

Edie: This book is a powerful tool for prayer groups. We know that when many people are praying the same thing it, multiplies the power of those prayers. The idea of potentially thousands of people praying the same thing at the same time for our military is one of the most exciting aspects of publishing a book like this.

QPQ: What a great point. And it seems even those of us who don’t have loved ones serving could use this book as a starting point to pray for our military. We may not personally know the men and women serving, but we are indebted to them. Seems the very least we can do for them is pray. Thanks for the reminder—and the great book to get us started.

While My Soldier Serves Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military Thousands of families send loved ones off to fight on a daily basis. These families spend a lot of time living in a world out of control. This kind of stress can take an incredible toll, but there is hope. When we feel helpless, we can take our fears to the One who loves us more than anything and holds the universe in His hands. In this book you’ll find the words to usher you into His presence. These prayers are a place to visit again and again as you take your own fears to God. They’re just a starting point, written to help you find your own voice as you call out on behalf of the one you love.

Edie Melson: Edie Melson, crop, high res As the mother of a frontline infantry Marine, Edie Melson lived this book before she wrote it. Edie understands what it is to face adversity and come out triumphant on the other side. Her years as a wife, mother, and ministry leader have given her a unique perspective to reach out 
to others facing the same struggles.
 She’s the Military Family Blogger for Guideposts.org, social media director for several writing websites, and a popular ministry and conference speaker. Connect with her on her blog, The Write Conversation, Twitter, and Facebook. perspective to reach out 
to others facing the same struggles.
 She’s the Military Family Blogger for Guideposts.org, social media director for several writing websites, and a popular ministry and conference speaker. Connect with her on her blog, The Write Conversation, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

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Paying Off the Love Debt

downloadIt’s been a rough couple of months at the Patchen household.

We had to have our shower re-tiled, because it was leaking, and mold was beginning to form. As long as we were doing the shower, we figured we’d go ahead do the floors, and getting new floors led to new vanities, countertops, sinks, cabinet doors, and light fixtures. It’s the old “If you give a mouse a cookie…” approach to home improvement. Expensive, but we’d been planning it for a while. We had the money.

And then in late December, the hot water heater went kaput. These things happen. The house was built in ’78. The hot water heater had never been replaced. No problem.

Then on Super Bowl Sunday, I smelled something funny, something…chemically. I called the gas company, and they sent someone out. Not natural gas, he said. Carbon monoxide. My heat and air guy confirmed our worst fears. The thirty-seven-year-old furnace needed to be replaced. And of course, if you’re going to do the furnace, you should go ahead and replace the antique air conditioner, too. That would be the “if you give a mouse a cookie…” approach to home comfort solutions. Or maybe it was my heat and air guy’s approach to his kids’ college fund. In any event, if you’re keeping track, since December first, we’ve purchased: new tile, new vanities, new countertops, new light fixtures, new cabinet doors, new hot water heater, new furnace, and new air conditioner. Oh, and then there was the trip home to New Hampshire for Christmas and all those pesky gifts.

Tweet this: Not all #debt can be paid off. Owe nothing but #love. 

We are blessed, and my husband is pretty savvy, and so we still managed to stay out of debt. They say put away six months’ worth of income for a rainy day, and it was pouring at our house this winter. But just because we don’t owe the tiler or the heat and air guy doesn’t mean we don’t carry debt.

Paul tells us in Romans 13:8: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

I find it funny that Paul refers to this as a “debt.” When you go into debt, you’ve received something that you haven’t paid for. You sign the mortgage, you move into the house, and then you pay it off. You sign the loan papers, you drive away with the car and an envelope filled with helpful little tickets to mail with your payment every month. So what did we receive that we haven’t paid for?

How about eternal salvation? According to Ephesians 2, I was dead, and now I’m alive, and I did nothing to make that happen. It was a gift, but apparently, it was a gift with strings attached, because the same author who wrote Ephesians tells me in Romans that I owe love to the world, even to the folks who don’t love me back.

No matter how much money we have in the bank, we’ll always be in debt, because the God who saved us asks to love His children, whoever and wherever they are.

A little cash for heat and hot water, a chunk of change for mold-free bathrooms. A fair trade. Offering the love that was first given to DSC_8915-25edme by God in exchange for peace, joy, and salvation? That’s a no-brainer.

Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. She is the author of two books, Faith House and One Christmas Eve, both Christmas stories, and a freelance editor at Robins Red Pen. Read excerpts and find out more at her website.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2015 in Robin Patchen

 

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How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

graveyard

Image courtesy of SergeBertasiusPhotography/freedigitalphotos.net

“Zombies” are everywhere. On T-shirts at the mall, television, video games, and books. But did you know there are zombies in the church? No, I’m not talking about the two-hundred-year-old couple sitting on the back pew half-asleep. I’m talking churches filled with zombie congregations. I know I sound crazy, but, please, stick with me.

In Ezekiel 37, the spirit of the Lord carried Ezekiel and set him down in a valley full of bones. “…they were very dry.” (vs. 2) So these folks had been dead awhile. “And he [God] said unto me…can these bones live?” (vs. 3) “Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.” (vs. 4, emphasis mine)

I can imagine Ezekiel thinking, What? Preach to dead people? “So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.” I don’t know about you, but that would be my cue to exit. LOL “…the sinews (tendons) and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.” (vs. 8, emphasis mine)

There you have it. Lifeless bodies—zombies, per say. “Then he [God] said unto me… Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” (vs. 9) “So I prophesied…and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.” (vs. 10) “Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves… And shall put my spirit [Holy Spirit] in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land…” (vs. 12-14)

Did you know that apocalypse is the act of revealing or disclosing something not realized?

How to survive the zombie apocalypse:

  1. If you’re not saved, give your heart to Christ. You’ll immediately convert from death to life.
  2. Read your Bible. Pray. Inhale the Words of life.
  3. Don’t be a member of a dead church. If you’re not being fed, growing spiritually, or feeling the Holy Spirit move, I encourage you to find a church that helps you grow.
  4. Share the gospel with others. Ezekiel did, and God’s word caused the dead to come to life.

 

~Candice Sue Patterson

Candice writes contemporary romance with threads of nostalgia. Bright Copper Kettles is available now. Silver White Winters coming soon!

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Candice Sue Patterson, devotion

 

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Unlikely Combinations

Pegg7Some combinations go together like – well – the proverbial hand and glove. Things like popcorn and movies, baseball and peanuts, campfires and marshmallows are etched into the fabric of life in these United States. One without the other is only half an experience.

Other combinations take some getting used to but can grow on a person. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches, face paint and tailgating, Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias…okay, they only did one song together, but it is worth listening to!

The granddaddy of all oddball combinations resides within ten miles of our home. I’m relatively sure it’s a one-of-a-kind establishment. The two businesses share one dilapidated pole building on the outskirts of the outskirts of what used to be a town. Inside, you can purchase ice cream at one end and have your deer head mounted at the other. A combination ice cream parlor and taxidermist shop. It gives a whole new perspective on Moose Tracks ice cream.

Happenstance, rather than entrepreneurship, likely created this situation. The chance of an incorporated chain of taxidermy/ice cream shops popping up across the country remains slim to none. Don’t expect trading on the stock market anytime soon. But as odd as it sounds and as unlikely a combination as it is…it works.

The Bible is full of unlikely and oddball combinations. Perhaps the most glaring is Peter and Paul. Peter was a fisherman, an impulsive man who worked with his hands and smelled of old brine. Paul was an educated dandy of high rank who didn’t soil his hands – except to have the occasional Christian executed. Yet Christ built His church using these two cornerstones. Two thousand plus years later we know…it worked.

~ Pegg Thomas

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2014 in Humor, Pegg Thomas

 

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